The stall, “I need to speak with someone” is as old as “The price is too high” objection. Despite it being around before all sales reps working today were born, most still have trouble overcoming it. You’d think that with all the good rebuttals and techniques that have been written for it they might have figured it out, but, alas, most reps still struggle with it.
To help you finally and definitively deal with it, I present you five new, improved and proven ways of handling this stall. Now, let me make something clear: these techniques won’t always work at overcoming this stall (sometimes they will, though!), but they will let you know how much of a stall this put off is, whether or not it’s a smokescreen, and how much of a shot you have at overcoming it, side-stepping it, or setting yourself up for a successful next call (or if there should even be a next call with a prospect).
So let’s start at the beginning. The first thing you need to do is qualify for this stall during your opening call. Do you? If you don’t, then you’re likely to keep getting this at the end of your presentations and, oh, how frustrating that must be for you. If you get it once, then shame on them, but if you keep getting it over and over again, then shame on you. Here’s what you must be asking on your first call:
“And _________, besides yourself, who weighs in on the final decision on something like this?”
And if they tell you their boss or corporate, etc., then you must layer that with:
“And how much influence do you have in that?”
“And what do they usually do when you bring them something like this?”
“Based on what you know about how they feel about something like this, what do you honestly think they would do?”
Etc. You must get as much clarity as you can upfront so you know what to expect when you go into your demo or presentation. And, of course, as you begin your close, you must also preface it with:
“And before we get started here, just so we’re on the same page, if you like what you see at the end of our presentation today, what are the next steps for putting to work for you on your end?”
“At the end of our presentation today, if you like what you see, can you put us to work for you today?”
Again, you must have clarity over the process before you begin your presentation. Once you have that, however, if you still get the “I’ll have to show this to my partner, boss, etc.,” then use one of the proven scripts below to handle it. As always, adjust it, customize it, and make it your own, and then practice, drill and rehearse it until you’ve got it down.
“I need to talk to my boss/partner/corporate” etc.
“No problem, and are you going to recommend this to them?”
“Great! Then I’ll hold on while you check with them…”
“Great! And as you mentioned earlier, they do usually go with your recommendation, right?”
“Wonderful. Then I’ll go ahead and get the paperwork started on my end – can you reach out and see if they’re available now to run this by them?”
[Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this technique! About 20% of the time, the decision maker is sitting in the next room and some people will go and get the approval right then and save you valuable time in delaying and following up…]
“I understand. Let me ask you two things: One: What do you think the biggest reason is they will put us to work for you today?”
[Listen for the buying motive]
“And two: What do you think is the biggest reason they won’t go with this solution?”
[Listen for what the real objection is and then layer and explore…]
“Of course and I understand – we talked before about your decision process. Let me ask you this, though: is getting their approval the ONLY thing holding us back from doing business together?”
[Listen carefully – if YES then]:
“Will you have time to talk to them before we next speak at 2:30 tomorrow afternoon? Great! Then because you’re onboard with this, I’ll go ahead and prepare the paperwork, I’ll email it to you, and I’ll even reserve a spot for you.”
[Give a brief pause here and wait for push back. If none]:
“I’ll look forward to us moving forward tomorrow!”
“I understand _________.” Tell you what I’d be happy to do: I know you’re behind this, right? Well, it’s not fair to ask you to do my job, so if it’s all right with you, I’ll be happy to reach out to (decision maker) directly and answer any questions they might have – would that be O.K.?”
“No problem. Just out of curiosity, do you think they will go with this?”
[If NO or Don’t Know]:
“What would it take for them to say yes?”
“Well, I know you’re behind this, and I know you need it – as we discussed during out first phone call. I know you’ve tried to sell or buy something in the past, and you’ve probably been told that someone had to “talk to someone else” before, right?
[Wait for a response]
“Well, based on your experience, what do you honestly think is going to happen here?”
“I understand. __________, I’ve been in sales a long time, and when someone tells me they have to speak with someone, it either means they really do, or it means they don’t really have to, and it’s just a way to get me off the phone. I don’t think that’s happening here, but if it is, can you level with me?”
[If they really do have to speak with someone, then]
“Thanks for that. Now, based on what you know about this, and based on the fact that you’d like to see us work together, what do you seriously think is going to stand in the way of this getting approved?”
“Thanks for that. Now, based on what you know about this, and based on the fact that you’d like to see us work together, what do you seriously think it’s going to take to get this approved?”
There you have it! Six new ways to handle the “I need to speak with someone” objection. Remember, some of these will work some of the time, but all of them will help you smoke out the real objection. And once you get a handle on what’s really likely to happen, then you can deal with it and overcome it – or move this prospect to the backburner and move on.